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5 HTP Natural Anti-Depressant and sleep aid
5 HTP benefits those suffering from depression and/or insomnia. Since depression and insomnia often go hand in hand it is helpful to know that there are treatments out there that address both problems. Research is showing relatively few side effects from using 5HTP so it may be worth a look, especially in light of the severe problems people are having from antidepressants and sleep medicines.
The benefits of 5 HTP come from its importance in the process of creating neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that your body uses to perform certain functions or processes. 5 HTP is an amino acid and is an integral part of creating serotonin. Serotonin is a part of several vital functions in the brain.
The 5HTP benefits that depression sufferers receive come mainly from the by product of increased serotonin. Depression can often be a result of low serotonin levels. This brain chemical is a part of the processes in the brain that help regulate mood and reduce anxiety, pain levels, etc. If serotonin is a factor in your depression then it may help to add a supplement with 5HTP to your diet.
The serotonin benefits of 5 HTP are also helpful in dealing with some cases of insomnia. At night your body converts serotonin into melatonin, a different neurotransmitter involved in the process of putting your body into sleep. Some lack of sleep is a result of insufficient levels of melatonin at night...which is often due to a lack of serotonin to be converted into melatonin.
5 HTP is a Remedy for
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
What 5 HTP is; what it does
What do depression, insomnia, anxiety, suicide, migraines, PMS, obsessive/compulsive behavior, stress, obesity, and addiction have in common? All of these conditions are manifestations of low levels of serotonin. Many of the new prescription drugs that have become available since the absence of L-Tryptophan are designed to regulate brain serotonin levels (called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs).
Now, a natural and safe alternative to these drugs is available in the form of 5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5 HTP). 5 HTP, a compound synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan is ten times more active than L-Tryptophan and is the immediate precursor to serotonin (5-Hydroxy typtamine or 5-HT) which is found in the brain, blood platelets, and duodenal mucosa cells of the gastrointestinal tract, Since serotonin is found in the brain and central nervous system it has many implications on mood, behavior and sleep patterns.
The function of Prozac®, Paxil and many other antidepressant drugs, is to increase the availability of serotonin in certain brain synapses. Unfortunately, these drugs can produce many unpleasant and dangerous side affects. Since 5 HTP cannot be patented, drug companies have no interest in supplying this compound to the public.
Now that tryptophan is restricted by the FDA, researchers have clinically investigated 5 HTP in comparison to antidepressant drugs. The results of the studies were astounding. Using the standard depression scale, both the drug and 5 HTP groups displayed identical reduction in depression. Depressed patients who received 100 mg of 5 HTP, three times daily, showed at least a 50% improvement in their symptoms, without any reported side effects. Similar studies with depressed children demonstrated equal benefit.
Subsequent studies were performed using 5 HTP for anxiety, panic disorder, sleep difficulties and obesity. In his research R.S. Kahn observed an obvious decline in anxiety symptoms when supplementing with 5 HTP, and patients with panic disorder noticed a feeling of relief after receiving 5 HTP. Melatonin, which helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle, is a metabolite of serotonin. Early research studies show that supplementing with 5 HTP may have positive effects on sleep patterns. In a six week clinical study with obese patients, those supplemented with 5HTP were able to reduce carbohydrate intake, and experienced a feeling of early satiety, which contributed to significant weight loss.